Courage through a Lens - Kiki van de Laar

Courage through a lens

FMC Foundation

When 27-year-old mother of two Kiki van de Laar noticed a lump in her left breast in early January, she assumed it was a cyst and thought nothing of it. 

Just weeks after telling her GP about the lump, Kiki was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and subsequently underwent surgery to have her left breast removed. 

The Flinders Medical Centre patient, who is a professional photographer, decided to document her battle against breast cancer in photographs, bringing her camera along to appointments, scans and even surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. 

"When I first heard the news I was shocked," Kiki, of Huntfield Heights, said.

"I wondered why this was happening to me. I am only 27 years old, I have breastfed both of my children and there seems to be no history of breast cancer in my family. 

"I was scared but I felt strong too - I knew I would do anything I could to deal with this as I have so much to live for."

Kiki recently released her book 'Courage through a lens - A breast cancer journey' online as an eBook. She hopes the book will strip away some of the fear for men and women facing a similar battle. 

"I aim to be an inspiration to other women and help them because I am showing them through my lens what this journey exactly looks like, all the steps of the way. 

"So many stories have been written, but the scary bit is the unknown and I want to break through that. 

"As a professional photographer I have the gift to capture memories and I have captured all the steps of my journey in a realistic, natural way with style without the drama."

Kiki has recently completed intensive rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She is also planning to have her right breast removed as a preventative measure. 

She said medical and nursing staff at the hospital had been happy to help with her book. 

"I took my camera to all appointments/scans and they were patient with me so I could set up everything - they have been very supportive." 

Kiki and her husband Rogier immigrated to Australia from the Netherlands in 2009, before having their two children Mick, 3, and Tatum, 1. 

Kiki's book is available for purchase at www.kikiscourage.com for $19.99. She will donate 50 per cent of the proceeds to breast cancer research charities including the FMC Foundation.